2017 was a busy year for Kody Templeman. Both of his bands put out a full length and a seven inch. He toured middle America with The Lillingtons. With Teenage Bottlerocket he went to Hawaii, Australia, Europe, the East Coast and South America.
So, to catch up with the man and all his antics, Punknews writer Tom Trauma rang Templeman up and got the inside dirt. Check it out below.
Kody Templeman talks punk, metal, and beer
Tom Trauma At first, I was a little surprised that I got the opportunity to talk to Kody Templeman at all, as The Lillingtons frontman has always been careful about protecting the band’s mystique. I was doubly surprised by how unguarded he was.
More than that, I was surprised by the direction of the band's new album. For the new Lillingtons LP, the decision to go darker with the words and music was a conscious one. The band chose to make an album outside of their typical Ramones-core sound. Templeman says, “There was a lot of inspiration from conspiracy theories and occult knowledge. A lot of stuff just happened spontaneously”.
The stylistic shift on Stella Sapiente was a gamble, but it would seem that the risk paid off. Interestingly, the songs appear on the record in the order they were written. Ultimately, they made exactly the album they wanted to make, completely on their own terms. The Lillingtons had always seemed destined to make an album for Fat Wreck Chords, but when I spoke to him, Templeman claimed he was not confident the label would be interested in their strange sounding new demos. Apparently Fat Mike knew of and approved of the not so subtle change in musical and lyrical direction.
“He loved it!” Templeman recalls. “I was unsure of what his reaction would be, but he liked it a lot more than I thought he would. He was stoked on the conspiracy theory aspect of it”.
The bootprint of heavy metal is undeniable on Stella Sapiente , and Templeman quickly owned up to being a headbanger. He even admitted that these days he listens mostly to metal. He says, “It was fun to write songs with metal elements in them. It obviously played a big part. A lot of albums can be considered punk and metal”.
When asked about what he was currently listening to, he listed a handful of obscure black and atmospheric metal bands. Beastmilk was the only one that was very familiar. While on past albums they tried to keep those influences subtle, this time they just let it all hang out.
As I spoke to Templeman, he also let me know about some interesting upcoming reissues. The hard to find (and expensive) Shit Out of Luck (1996) and Technically Unsound (a 2005 compilation) are set to be repressed by Clearview Records in the very near future. Templeman also had reason to believe that Red Scare Industries would soon do the same for the other classic albums like Death By Television (1999). Templeman says, “I’ve seen a few fans post about how they don’t like it cause it’s not as pop punk as the previous albums, but I can understand where they’re coming from. We haven’t ruled out doing pop punk stuff in the future.”
As we spoke, the deepest fanboy rabbit hole we went down was when I asked him about the parallels between Metallica’s Garage Days Re-Revisited (the 1987 original, not to be confused with the bloated Garage Inc. from 1998) and Teenage Bottlerocket’s Stealing the Covers (2017). Templeman tells me “All of us grew up listening to metal before we got into punk rock, and most of us have shifted back to that the older we get.”
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a little background. Metallica’s bassist on the first three records, Cliff Burton, died in a tour bus crash in Sweden in 1986. Eventually Jason Newsted (from Flotsam and Jetsam) was hired as his replacement. To break in the new guy, the band recorded an EP of covers featuring mostly unknown bands, which was released ad Garage Days Re-Visited.
Now, Switch over to Teenage Bottlerocket- Original Teenage Bottlerocket drummer Brandon Carlisle died in 2015 and was eventually replaced by Darren Chewka. The first material released with the new drummer was an album of covers by obscure bands. Templeman stated that the covers album had been in the works for quite a while, but that he was aware of the similarities. He thought it was kind of funny and was a fan of the original Garage Days .
Due to the band’s background, it seemed appropriate to find out which horror movies Templeman had been watching. He mentioned classics like The Exorcist and Halloween, and the new Netflix original The Babysitter Templeman adds, “Obviously we ripped ‘They Live’ off, but the story of that song is about something entirely different. There was more influence from old short stories than (horror) movies”.
When asked about the future of the mercurial Lillingtons, Templeman stated that Fat expected them to promote the album and that they planned to tour behind Stella Sapiente. This is certainly great news for those who missed the band on their first time or two around. As to what he was hoping to get out of the whole adventure, Templeman curtly replies, “PBR. I’m a cheap date.”